DT Research Launches Interactive Sign LineBy Sean Gallagher | Posted 2007-10-05 Email Print
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The embedded systems vendor moves into digital signage with its WebDT Signage System, a complete system for interactive signs and kiosks based on embedded Windows.
DT Research, the San Jose, Calif., manufacturer of embedded Windows-based wireless tablets, workstations and display-integrated systems, has released a new product line targeted at the rapidly growing market for interactive signs.
The WebDT Signage System aims to deliver the high reliability of the company's embedded products, along with a low maintenance and management cost.
Billed as the first all-in-one system with an industrial, modular design and remote auto-recovery from both hardware and software crashes, the WebDT Signage System is targeted at environments like retail, hospitality and other markets.
"This is suited to any place you have a captive audience, like even a doctor's office for example," said John Ochoa, director of business development for digital signage at DT Research.
The company is still developing a channel program for the product, which it will offer through its existing channel of embedded solution providers and OEMs, and through selected solution providers specializing in electronic sign and kiosks. "DT Research has a well-established channel for it's existing product line," said Ochoa. "But we're actively looking for digital signage resellers."
The product line, which includes infrared touch-sensitive screens with embedded modular computers and a content management server, provides solution providers with an easy entrance into what was a $1.5 billion market in 2006, up from less than $1 million four years earlier, according to a InfoTrends Research Group study.
"It's a very exciting market with huge growth potential," said Perry Nolen, CEO of Xybernaut, a DT Research reseller. Xybernaut's primary products are in the wireless and portable tablet spacethe company OEMs DT Research's DT 360 tablet as the Atigo.
Nolen believes the signage system fits in well with his existing customers in retail, hospitality and the government. "We're already into markets like cruise ships, theme parks and casinos with our other devices," he said. "They're already natural markets for [the signage products]."
WebDT comes bundled with all the software required to manage the systems, including a database and content management server with a Web-based console for monitoring signs and deploying content to them. "Retailers are looking for an all-in-one solution," said Ochoa. "And when you have to be able to control a player or panel remotely, it has to be Web-based."
The WebDT DS3700 and DS4700 media playersthe display elements of the signage systemare 37-inch and 47-inch LCD displays with infrared touch sensors and integrated computers running the Microsoft Windows XP Embedded operating system. The fanless, modular computers in the systems can be easily removed and replaced in case of failure, and are remotely monitored by the management software.
"It's built to withstand harsh environments. The system can recover itself if it locks up," said Andy Teoh, DT Research's product manager for digital signage.
The display systems can also be rebooted remotely and reloaded automatically. Management software on the server monitors display and determine its status, and can automatically send a command to restart software or completely reboot the embedded computer.
The players can be configured to present up to eight content zones on the display, each configured as a media player, text display, interactive application area or for touch input. It also includes a bipole antenna attachment for wireless networks, supporting Wi-Fi, and a wired Ethernet adaptor.
WebDT's content management database runs on either Microsoft SQL Server or mySQL, either of which can come bundled with the system software as required by the customer.
"A non-technical user can set up a playlist and deploy it in less than half an hour," said Teoh.